Buddhist monk will
try to put peace back in peace officers
MADISON, WISCONSIN Madison police Capt. Cheri Maples wants
to bring peace back to police work.
She helped recruit Thich Nhat Hanh, an internationally known Buddhist
monk and scholar, to shed light on how police officers and other
community workers can achieve peace.
Its hard to do this work and not close down emotionally
over time, said Maples, who is captain of personnel and
training for the department. My focus is on how to help
people do this job with an open heart, to deal with what we deal
with and not pay a price themselves.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a peace activist and poet, was nominated for
the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 and is a proponent of engaged
Buddhism, a spiritual practice that seeks active engagement
with the world.
Hell offer a nonsectarian program Aug. 24-29 in Green Lake,
targeting police officers, firefighters, health care workers,
educators and others who want a more peaceful, nonviolent life.
Maples studied with Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced tick not hawn)
and was ordained as a lay member of his Zen Buddhist order. She
said she struggles with ways to help officers handle the stress
of police work.
Instinct and training teaches them to take charge which
is good for police work but can be hard on relationships, she
What police officers deal with over and over and over again
is misplaced anger, Maples said. And then our families
deal with our misplaced anger and frustration.
Thich Nhat Hanh has been exiled since the 1960s from his native
Vietnam because of his anti-war views. He lives at Plum Village,
a retreat near Bordeaux, France, and in 1997 founded a center
and monastery in Vermont.
His Wisconsin appearance is organized by Snowflower Sangha, a
group of Madison people dedicated to the practice of mindfulness.